Eichmann’s unpublished request for pardon

President Reuven Rivlin is to make public on Wednesday previously unreleased documents including a handwritten request for clemency from Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann.

Rivlin's office said in a statement that the request to then president Yitzhak Ben-Zvi would be presented at a ceremony at Rivlin's official Jerusalem residence to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

In the petition, written after he was brought to Israel in 1960, then tried, convicted and sentenced to death the following year, Eichmann claimed that the Israeli court overstated his role in organizing the logistics of Adolf Hitler's genocidal "Final Solution" which involved the extermination of six million Jews.

"There is a need to draw a line between the leaders responsible and the people like me forced to serve as mere instruments in the hands of the leaders," Rivlin's office quotes the letter as saying.

"I was not a responsible leader, and as such do not feel myself guilty," he adds.

"I am not able to recognize the court's ruling as just, and I ask, Your Honor Mr President, to exercise your right to grant pardons, and order that the death penalty not be carried out."

The letter was signed and dated: "Adolf Eichmann Jerusalem, May 29, 1962."

He was hanged on May 31. It was the only time Israel used its death penalty; a bill last July to apply the death penalty to terrorists was shot down by the Knesset 94-6, with only the Yisrael Beytenu party that proposed it voting in favor.

Eichmann escaped from a prisoner-of-war camp after World War II and fled to Argentina in 1950, where he lived under a pseudonym until he was snatched by Mossad agents in Buenos Aires in May 1960 and smuggled to Israel.

Other documents to be presented at Wednesday's commemoration, in the presence of Holocaust survivors, include requests for clemency from Eichmann's wife Vera and his five brothers, along with Ben-Zvi's letter to his justice minister rejecting the appeals.

Also in the collection, recently digitized by the presidential archives, are a transcript of Eichmann's defense counsel's Supreme Court appeal, the handwritten opinion of Justice Minister Dov Yosef, and a note by prosecutor Gideon Hausner for his opening address.

AFP contributed to this report.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/207103

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